KZN pad­dlers to ‘Olympics’

The Witness - - RACING HORSE RACING -

LO­CAL pad­dlers have set their sights on the Youth Olympics.

Three lo­cal 15-year-olds — Kwanda Mzolo from Lem­bethe Devel­op­ment Ca­noe Club at Na­gle Dam, Lizanne Con­radie from Ep­worth and Pierre van der Westhuyzen from Michael­house — have spent the past week in a chilly Barcelona at the ca­noe­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion event for the Youth Olympics in Ar­gentina later this year.

Hav­ing topped the African con­ti­nen­tal stand­ings in both their events, Van der Westhuyzen and Con­radie are both al­most cer­tain to qual­ify when the In­ter­na­tional Ca­noe Fed­er­a­tion an­nounce the re­sults later this week.

Mzolo had a mis­shap in his fi­nal event, but is still in with a chance as the top two male slots are taken from Africa and his clos­est com­peti­tor had a sim­i­lar prob­lem.

Kim Po­ple, Ca­noe­ing SA pres­i­dent and man­ager of the team to Barcelona, said South Africa can leave the com­pe­ti­tion know­ing they can be proud of their achieve­ments.

“Once the ICF con­firm the qual­i­fy­ing slots this week, we should have both Lizzy and Pierre qual­i­fy­ing to at­tend the Youth Olympic Games in Ar­gentina in Oc­to­ber, but we will await of­fi­cial an­nounce­ments. If that is the case, five months of hard work lies ahead, but they know ex­actly what is re­quired from them and they will be ready.”

The ca­noe­ing at the youth event con­sists of a com­bi­na­tion of head-to-head sprints on a cross-over cir­cu­lar course and a head-to-head slalom ob­sta­cle race from a ramp launch.

Lo­cally, 9 am this Satur­day sees the Marathon Prac­tice event at Beaulieu Dam near Rich­mond. More info is avail­able at www.kncu.co.za and www.ca­noesa.co.za. — John Oliver.

Young pad­dlers (from left) Kwanda Mzolo, Lizanne Con­radie and Pierre van der Westhuyzen at the Youth Olympics qual­i­fiers in Barcelona.

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